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WRF launches comprehensive plan to fix WA freight disruptions

The WRF freight resilience plan proposal comes as the body tells WA residents to once again prepare for empty supermarket shelves

The Western Roads Federation (WRF) has told Western Australians to prepare for empty shelves in supermarkets as Australia’s freight networks face increasing disruptions.

WRF CEO Cam Dumesny says WA businesses should also reconsider business plans that are contingent on the premise of reliable and efficient interstate freight.

Dumesny says the WRF has learnt from previous freight disruptions in its development of a 19-point plan to secure key freight routes.

The plan was presented late last month to representatives of several key national and state government agencies.

The plan is grouped under three key themes, such as the need for national leadership and coordination, the focus on a freight system and solution and targeted infrastructure investment.

“The latest three week disruption to the Trans-Australian Railway is unfortunately yet another example of Australia’s increasingly climate vulnerable and unreliable interstate freight networks,” Dumesny says.

“Despite two federal parliamentary inquiries and with no sign of any national action plan, WA’s peak body for transport and logistics industry, the Western Roads Federation, has taken the lead.”

The plan comes after a spate of recent freight disruptions, with the WRF saying that there’s no freight resilience plan in Australia to combat these challenges.

In January 2023, flooding destroyed the Fitzroy River Crossing bridge, with multiple closures ongoing this year due to repeated flooding.

From Perth to Adelaide, bushfires and flooding since 2020 have closed rail networks and the Eyre Highway intermittently, while both the Adelaide to Darwin and Brisbane to Darwin routes have been impacted, on both the road and rail networks, due to various flooding, bushfire and cyclone events.

“The terminology of the three themes on the plan may sound grandiose, but the recommendations under each are pragmatic, multimodal and, most importantly, realistically deliverable,” Dumesny says.

“The climate is changing, and so must our freight system.”

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